Where to eat in Cologne

“Where are the best places to eat in Cologne?” “Do you know a good restaurant in Ehrenfeld?” “Where in Cologne is good for brunch?” If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve asked me one of these questions and I have very lazily directed you to this page (or you might have landed here after a quick Google) – but either way, this page should help you out in finding a great restaurant in Cologne.

When it comes to finding a good place to eat, Cologne isn’t the easiest of cities to navigate. Most visitors end up in the Altstadt, an area that no very few locals would choose for an evening meal, brunch or even a coffee.

To help you out, I’ve put together a Cologne food guide to my favourite restaurants and cafes in Cologne, listed by neighbourhood. The list isn’t exhaustive and is based solely on my own opinion and whilst I can’t claim to be an expert, I have been a resident Kölner/Colognian for almost two years.

Best places to eat in Ehrenfeld

Where to eat in Cologne Ehrenfeld

Without a doubt Cologne’s hippest neighbourhood, Ehrenfeld has more than its fair share of great cafes and restaurants, not to mention bars and clubs (if you’ve come to Cologne to party, this is where you want to be). Ehrenfeld is also the best place to go in Cologne for brunch.

Getting to Ehrenfeld: Köln-Ehrenfeld station for the RE or S Bahn, or stops Venloer Straße/Gürtel or Körnerstraße on U Bahn lines 3 or 4.

Top choice in Ehrenfeld: Brunch at Café Goldmund is the perfect way to start your Sunday. Grab a plate of Bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes) or frisches Gemüse (fresh fruit) to share and then dig into a huge Pfannkuchen (pancake) or some tasty Rührei (scrambled eggs).

Café Goldmund: cosy neighbour café specialising in brunch, coffee and cake. Rock up early to make sure you get a table or call ahead and book. Decked out like a library inside and offers sunny outdoor seating in summer. As well as the interiors, be sure to instagram some of Ehrenfeld’s best street art outside.

Café Sehnsucht: another great brunch place in Ehrenfeld and another place that fills up quickly (NB you can’t reserve for brunch Fri/Sun). Sehnsucht has a nice rustic décor, including a working fireplace for cold wintry days.

Jaely’s: a popular restaurant on the main thoroughfare in Ehrenfeld, Jaely’s does a good variety of pizza and pasta dishes. The Marco Polo (apple and gorgonzola pizza) has earned cult-status among my group of friends. Would definitely recommend.

Bagatelle: probably the best French food in town, serving up French-style tapas and lighter bites. Full disclaimer: whilst I haven’t been to this specific one, I have been to another Bagatelle in a village closeby. There’s also another in the Südstadt.

Best restaurants in the Belgian Quarter

Where to eat in Cologne Belgian Quarter

The Belgian Quarter is another very cool area in Cologne. Closer to the city centre, the quarter’s busy Aachener Straße is normally filled with outdoor seating and happy diners. In summer, head to Brüsseler Platz for al-fresco drinking on the square.

Getting there: U Bahn stops Rudolfplatz and Friesenplatz or Köln West train station.

Top choice: Herr Pimock is probably my favourite restaurant in the whole of Cologne. Great bar, free wifi and a good menu of German (amazing Flammkuchen) and not-so-German staples (think tapas, salads and burgers).

as/if Record Store Café: excellent coffee and cakes in a truly hipster setting – think vinyl records and vintage furniture.

Herr Pimock: a classic. Herr Pimmock has a great relaxed feel with a menu will please everyone. You’ll definitely want to stay for a few glasses of wine after your meal.

Beef Brothers: a fast-food Imbiss burger joint, but definitely one of the best. People are normally queueing out of the door for this place.

Bay Area Burrito: just a short walk from the Belgian Quarter, this American-run place has the best burritos in Cologne (in my humble opinion). They do an ever-changing burrito of the month, which is normally pretty amazing.

Bali: I have to admit, I haven’t actually been here yet, but if the rave reviews from my friends are anything to go by, this Indonesian restaurant is something special. Book ahead.

Where to eat in Cologne: Severinstraße/Südstadt

Where to eat in Cologne Sudstadt

This area is probably one of my favourite places to go out for dinner, just for the sheer amount of choice. However, the Südstadt doesn’t have many tourist sites so you aren’t likely to pass through without making a special detour – but that in itself is probably reason enough to check out the area.

Getting here: U Bahn stops Severinstraße or Chlodwigplatz

Top choice: the pizzas at 485 Grad come with the special seal of approval from every Italian I know. Go for Hellboy for a meat feast or Popeye Pie for a cheesy veggie option.

Die Fette Kuh: this place is beyond famous for its burgers, which are easily the best in Cologne. Seating is very limited (which is probably part of the appeal) so expect to wait for a table.

485 Grad: the best Neapolitan pizzas outside of Italy I’m told (and I believe it, too). Popeye Pie is my favourite pick, but I’m told Hellboy is great if you like a bit of spice. They have a healthy choice of craft beer, too.

Sushiteria: simple but great sushi and Asian dishes. Think Wagamama on a small scale.

La Esquina: another place I haven’t tried personally but hear great things about, La Esquina is meant to have amazing tapas.

Casita Mexicana: a small chain originating in Düsseldorf, this place does some very good Mexican dishes and even better margaritas.

Places to eat near Cologne Messe/Deutz

Where to eat in Cologne Deutz

If you’re looking for a restaurant close to Köln Messe (Cologne Trade Fair), then you’re looking for a restaurant in Deutz. This is my neck of the woods and whilst often overlooked, this neighbourhood is pretty up-and-coming.

Getting here: Köln Messe/Deutz train station or U Bahn stop Deutzer Freizeit on lines 1, 7 and 9.

Top choice: grab a huge salad from St. Louis and you won’t go hungry all day – this place is amazing and cannot be overstated. My second top tip would be to avoid the overpriced and bland Café Especial, which gets more than its fair share of visitors thanks to its location.

St. Louis: my absolute favourite café in Cologne. St. Louis has great bagels, pastries, cakes, coffee, incredible salads (make your own), free wifi, friendly staff, free water and crushed ice smoothies in summer. Everyone I’ve brought here has asked to come back. No excuses – just go.

Heimisch: another little café on the Deutzer Freiheit, Heimisch has a more hipster interior and serves up some good quiches, salads and pastries.

Lommerzheim: somewhere else I haven’t tried for myself (but not for lack of trying), this traditional Kölsch pub is famous and is reportedly one of the best German restaurants in Cologne, so it gets an honourable mention. It’s normally pretty busy but worth trying your luck to see what the fuss is about.

Hotel Lux: who doesn’t like a Soviet-themed restaurant? HotelLux has a special place in my heart thanks to its good Russian cuisine and kitschy décor.

Mongo’s: a classy, buffet-style, all-you-can-eat restaurant specialising in exotic types of fare like zebra, ostrich or kangaroo (but also offering chicken, prawns and beef too).

Got a favourite restaurant in Cologne? Comment below and I’ll try to check it out.

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